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Osama bin Laden likes giving surprises: Book

books Updated: Oct 13, 2009 12:43 IST

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It seems that Osama bin Laden has a penchant for acting without notice. Osama

A new book, Growing Up bin Laden, co-authored by Osama's first wife Najwa and their son Omar, has revealed how on one night in Sudan, the al-Qaeda leader suddenly decided to take his family - four wives, 14 kids - on a camping trip.

According to the book, Osama drove into the desert, found an isolated spot, then had his oldest sons dug ditches in the sand, long enough to fit each person "as he believed that was a training for an upcoming war coming between Muslims and the Western infidels", as reported.

"You must be gallant. Do not think about foxes or snakes," he says. "Challenging trials are coming to us." Each child, including a few 1- and 2-year-olds, lies in a hollow. There is no water or food.

As night falls, a child's voice whispers in the darkness, "I'm cold." "Cover yourself with dirt or grass," bin Laden snaps. "You will be warm under what nature provides."

Osama's first wife, Najwa, didn't like that idea, but, "I reminded myself that my husband knew much more about the big world than any of us. We were all pearls to my husband and he wanted to protect us."

51-year-old Najwa remains married to Osama, though she now lives apart from him in an undisclosed Middle Eastern location with her fourth son - of 11 kids - Omar. However, in the book, she has neither defended nor lashed out at Osama. "Terrorism is what he does for a living; all she needed to worry about was keeping his house in order," she said in the book.

She met her first cousin Osama, the 9-year-old son of her father's sister, when she was just 7. "He was such a serious, conscientious boy. He was proud, but not arrogant. He was delicate, but not weak. He was grave, but not severe."